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NPLF, JONATHAN, NORTH, AND THE REST OF NIGERIA


By: Kali Gwegwe
 Published March 15th, 2011

It will be difficult to dispute the widely held opinion that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s emergence as Nigeria’s president is a divine interjection. In less than one year in office, the Bayelsa State born president has given hope to the mostly disillusioned populace.

With a population of about 150m, Nigeria is unarguably the most populous black country on earth. This massive population presents an attractive climate for foreign investments. Unfortunately, poor infrastructure has greatly hampered socio-economic growth. This could be conveniently linked with the high level of corruption in government businesses and the deep culture of tribalism.

For most part of Nigeria’s fifty years as an independent nation, successive governments have been run like a cult. The level of secrecy in government businesses has made it difficult to effectively fight corruption. Members of the “cartel”- not the constitution decide the fate of the nation.

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Sensing that Goodluck Jonathan will not maintain “old tradition”, the powerful “cartel” went to battle against him. It first started with bitter attempts to prevent the then vice president Jonathan from acting on behalf of his boss, even when it had become very inevitable. When it became obvious that they have lost out to the Senate’s “Doctrine of Necessity”, the “cartel” quickly resorted to blackmail, intimidation, and slander. After all of their plots had failed, the “cartel” went on to instigate tribal and religious sentiments against president Jonathan. It was at this point that the Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) led by Mallam Adamu Chiroma came into the fray. The NPLF took the issue of zoning in PDP to the level that it gave rise to deep suspicion among many stakeholders in the north that prefer “One Nigeria” to “Two Nigeria” as was being championed by the apostles of zoning. This was the strongest reason why the NPLF’s sole candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar failed woefully during the PDP presidential primaries. Still refusing to accept the “One Nigeria” option, the NPLF has gone ahead to appeal to northerners to vote for only northern candidates even though Jonathan has the best of credentials among all the presidential aspirants. This is most regrettable.

While not attempting to dismiss the zoning arrangement in PDP, the NPLF should not ignore the fertile fact that it is only God that gives power. The facts are clear enough for everyone to see that God has a hand in the emergence of Jonathan as president. It will therefore be proper that they accept what nature has arranged.

Perhaps, it will be necessary to note here that a greater percentage of northern political stakeholders do not even see the NPLF as a consensus body. They rather see it as an attempt to perpetuate the “old order”, where just a few privileged northerners walk the corridors of power and line their pockets and those of their cronies. This is responsible for why despite the fact that northerners have dominated Nigeria’s seat of power, the north is mostly underdeveloped. The vast majority of northerners are living in abject poverty and abandonment.

As part of efforts to address the problems of crass underdevelopment and poverty in the north, president Jonathan has introduced a special educational programme to cater for the vast population of almajiris. As you read this piece, three new federal universities have been established in the north to address the educational challenges of the high number of youths seeking tertiary qualification. The federal government has also made available funds to resuscitate the moribund textile industries mostly located in the northern part of the country. Dredging of the River Niger is also a top priority of the Jonathan led administration. The aim is to promote economic and commercial activities in the north through the citing of a port in Lokoja. Furthermore, president Jonathan has sent an executive bill to the National Assembly seeking to establish an Hydro-Electric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPADEC) to cater for the needs of the host
communities of Nigeria’s hydro power plants like the NDDC is doing for the oil producing communities in the Niger Delta region.

Clearly, president Jonathan has done for the north what seven northern heads of government refused to do for their people. Jonathan is a positive story of hope for the poor, ignored, and downtrodden. He represents the vision of our forefathers and that of the future generation. President Goodluck Jonathan is a symbol of national unity. Even though, Nigeria’s economy rest on oil and gas resources from the Niger Delta region where he hails from, president Jonathan has never a day reminded Nigerians of this fact. This is because, he sees himself as a Nigerian- not an Ijaw man, not a Niger Deltan. This is the truth- so bitter that the Adamu Chiroma led NPLF has refused to accept.

Unknown to many, one of NPLF’s major grudge against Jonathan is the latter’s choice of Architect Namadi Sambo as vice president. Right from the onset, Sambo has shown that he is not a fan of “Two Nigeria.” The NPLF would have preferred a northern vice president that will be in Aso Rock to pursue the interests of a few northern elites. The average northerner is now wise enough to read the hand writing on the wall and has decided to jettison the “old order” that had confined them to the dustbins of their few selfish elites in the corridors of power. This is a new Nigeria.




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